HCA Healthcare today presented the HCA Healthcare Awards of Distinction to deserving recipients at a ceremony in Nashville, Tenn. The annual awards celebrate colleagues, physicians and volunteers who exemplify the organization’s mission, purpose and values. This year marks the:

  • 47th annual Frist Humanitarian Awards, recognizing the highest achievements in serving others.
  • Eighth annual HCA Innovators Awards, commending creative new ideas for enhancing quality of care and efficiency.
  • Fifth annual HCA Excellence in Nursing Awards, celebrating the highest levels of performance in the field of nursing.

“Our Awards of Distinction recipients represent what HCA Healthcare stands for: compassionate, quality patient care; innovative, forward-thinking ideas and above all else—the care and improvement of human life,” Sam Hazen, HCA Healthcare’s chief executive officer, said during the ceremony. These award recipients form an elite group of truly remarkable individuals, all with a passion for living our mission through their work.”

“I know you will be inspired and moved by their stories,” Hazen added.

(CLICK HERE for a replay webcast of the Awards of Distinction Ceremony.)

Learn more about the award recipients below.

The Frist Humanitarian Awards

The Frist Humanitarian Award, named in honor of HCA Healthcare co-founder, Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr. (1910 – 1998), was created in 1971. The award honors individuals within HCA Healthcare who demonstrate a level of commitment and caring that goes beyond everyday acts of kindness, and who inspire colleagues with their compassion and dedication.

Employee recipient – Jan Woolley, RN (St. Mark’s Hospital; Salt Lake City, Utah)

Jan has worked at St. Mark’s Hospital for more than 23 years, and she currently serves in the hospital’s pain clinic and senior center. Like Dr. Frist, Jan’s humanitarian spirit has been instrumental in bringing together people and resources to make the community a healthier place. In addition to caring for critical-condition patients at St. Mark’s Hospital, Jan has provided care to many low-resource communities around the world. During one of many mission trips, Jan spent a month at a clinic in Honduras, where she provided much needed medical support and supplies.

Jan says, “I would like to thank my family for their love and support. I would also like to thank Jody McGill for her hard work on my nomination submission. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Richard Glines, Dr. Richard Herold and Tamara Morgan for nominating me for this prestigious award.”

Physician recipient – J. Ryland Scott, MD (Redmond Regional Medical Center; Rome, Ga.)

Ryland is a general surgery and advanced laparoscopy physician who has worked at Redmond Regional Medical Center for 16 years. He led the development of Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) for colorectal surgeries in 2014, which resulted in reduced length of stay and improved recovery times for patients.

Along with caring for his patients, Ryland’s compassion for helping others shines through his work in the community. He has participated in several international medical missions and is a founding board member of Restoration Rome—a comprehensive care center designed to strengthen and restore broken families. In addition to raising their biological triplets, the Scotts have fostered eight children. Dr. Scott is also involved in youth ministry and, along with his wife, was a founding chair of the Young Life program, a faith-based camp for teenagers, in Rome, Georgia.

Ryland says, “Special thanks to my patients who give me the privilege of being a part of their journey and to my bride, Jennifer, whose commitment and compassion for others demonstrates the love of Christ. I love ‘doing life’ with you.”

Volunteer recipient – Charla E. Summers, MA (Eastside Medical Center; Snellville, Ga.)

Charla—a retired middle school and high school teacher—has been volunteering at Eastside Medical Center for more than seven years. In addition to the integral role she plays for numerous programs and committees at the hospital, Charla is an active member of the state’s Council on Volunteer Services. A survivor of domestic abuse, Charla’s experience inspired her to volunteer at a crisis intervention center as a hotline operator and lead support groups for children of abusive parents and those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions. In her free time, Charla likes to play golf, work in the yard, conduct research and play with her dog, Cricket.

Charla says there are many people in her life who’ve encouraged her, but she would like to specially acknowledge her mentor, Wanda Van Tyle. “I constantly remember her pushing me to do something ‘extra,’” Charla says.

*The Frist Humanitarian Award includes a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice and a $5,000 gift for the employee and volunteer recipients. The physician recipient receives a $10,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice.

HCA Innovators Award

HCA Healthcare was founded by leaders who dared to ask, “What if?” This question led to the creation of HCA Healthcare and it continues to drive our organization forward and unlock numerous possibilities for our patients, colleagues and communities. Created in 2010, the HCA Innovators Award recognizes innovative thinkers who help us improve our nursing operations, engage our physicians, generate growth and provide excellent patient care.

Innovators recipient – Gabriel O. Perez Rodriguez (East Florida Division; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Formerly the director of application development for the HCA Healthcare East Florida Division, Gabriel recently accepted the role of our organization’s vice president of software development. Throughout his nearly 16 years with the company, Gabriel has distinguished himself as an innovative developer and change agent for the enterprise. His most well-known concept, the nationally recognized ER Wait Times system, has produced emergency room process improvements and increased patient satisfaction. In his free time, Gabriel follows technology trends and often toys with new technologies to find different applications for them.

Gabriel says, “I’d like to thank my supportive families, my East Florida Division colleagues, my mother and the rest of the Pérez’s back in South Florida. To all of you who have touched my life in any way since I started the HCA Healthcare journey, thank you! Last but not least, thank you God for your continued blessings.”

*The HCA Innovators Award recipient receives a $5,000 gift and a $5,000 donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice.

HCA Excellence in Nursing Award

The HCA Excellence in Nursing Award was created in 2014 to recognize the intrinsic value of the practice of nursing in accomplishing our goal of providing the highest quality care to the patients and communities we serve. Our 94,000 knowledgeable and compassionate nurses are on the front line of patient care, every day. The award recognizes HCA Healthcare nurses who care like family and excel in the categories of Compassionate Care and Professional Mentoring.

Professional mentoring recipient – Sheandi Richins, BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN (Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center; Idaho Falls, Idaho)

Sheandi has worked at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for more than 15 years. In her role as emergency room clinical educator, Sheandi fully embraces mentoring new colleagues and encouraging team members to learn and grow in a variety of ways. She has created and implemented new programs to educate nurses, increasing retention and engagement among staff. In her free time, Sheandi enjoys adventuring with her husband and kids and anything fitness-related.

Sheandi says, “Thank you to my husband, Cody, for always believing in me. YOU ARE MY ROCK. Thank you to my parents for raising me to never give up. Thank you to Kirie Brown and Nicole Storer, two incredible directors who have mentored me in education and emergency nursing. I have learned so much from both of you!”

Compassionate care recipient – Abby DeSesso, MSN, RN (Reston Hospital Center, Reston, Va.)

Abby is an intensive care unit (ICU) clinical coordinator and senior charge nurse at Reston Hospital Center. Throughout her six years with the hospital, Abby’s huge heart and passion for caring for others have made a positive impact in the lives of patients, their families and her colleagues. One example of this is when Abby transformed a teddy bear into an ICU patient, so the young sister of one of Abby’s patients would not be afraid when she saw him. In her free time, Abby enjoys crafts, board games, reading, outdoor activities and spending time with her family.

Abby says, “I would not be able to be dedicated to my profession, hospital or patients, if it were not for the love and support of my family. To my parents, thank you for always being there for me and helping me reach my goals. To my Reston family, thank you for believing in me and for your love and support!”

*HCA Excellence in Nursing Award recipients each receive a $5,000 gift and $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

Hazen rounded out the ceremony with heartfelt thanks, “I’d like to close by expressing additional gratitude to our Award of Distinction recipients, and to each and every HCA Healthcare colleague across the organization,” he said. “I am so grateful for what you do each and every day to serve our patients and our communities.”

HCA Healthcare is comprised of 185 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 21 states and the United Kingdom. With its founding in 1968, HCA Healthcare created a new model for hospital care in the United States, using combined resources to strengthen hospitals, deliver patient-focused care and improve the practice of medicine.